Buying my first Nikon(I think)...used, not sure which to choose.

Discussion in 'Nikon Cameras' started by ecphoto, Mar 10, 2012.

  1. ecphoto

    ecphoto TPF Noob!

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    I'm in the process of selling off all my old Olympus and Sony gear. Hopefully in a few days I'll finally have the remaining money for the new camera.
    I've been looking at used gear because I can get better quality at a lower price. I'm pretty much only considering Nikon because I'm really impressed with the quality of their optics.

    I've narrowed it down to the following, I threw in one Canon cause its a steal of a price.
    • Nikon D3000 - 10.2MP - REFB - $279
    • Nikon D5000 - 12.3MP - REFB - $329
    • Nikon D80 - 10.2MP - USED - $349
    • Canon 450D - 12.2MP - USED - $274
    I'm not looking to go pro just yet, but I do want to build up a great collection of lenses for when I do go semi-pro eventually.
    Right now all I do is take pictures of friends and family for my personal portfolio. My top two are the D3000 and D5000. I've never owned a Nikon, or a Canon for that matter so I was hoping you guys could point me in the right direction.

    P.s. as far as low light AF goes...I notice Nikon has that in body flash night and canon uses flash pulses...what's best?


     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2012
  2. Aloicious

    Aloicious No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    my wife has a D5000 and it's pretty nice. it's the same sensor as the D90, but the body doesn't have the autofocus motor, so if you want autofocus, you'll need lenses with the motor in them. I believe the D80 has a focus motor in the body, so that might be a good option for you as well if that is a factor for you.

    those would be the 2 from that list that I'd look into most.
     
  3. SCraig

    SCraig Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I would not recommend the D3000, it is not one of Nikon's best efforts. The D5000 is about as low on the Nikon totem pole as I recommend anyone start with. The D80, while a very good camera in its day, is well past its prime. They are still pretty decent cameras but compared to the newer generations they leave a lot to be desired.

    My recommendation would be a used D5100 or D90. Either of those would be excellent choices.
     
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  4. tacticdesigns

    tacticdesigns TPF Noob!

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    In that list, my pick would be the Nikon D5000. It can be pushed to ISO6400. It can do auto-bracketing.

    If you could push your budget (and find one) the Nikon D90 would be the next logical used body to look at. It is slightly more than the Nikon D5000. It has a built-in-focus motor so you can get cheaper lenses for it down the road. And it can also be pushed to ISO6400.

    As pointed out above, the Nikon D5100 would also be something to consider. That's the one I've got. It has ISO6400 native and can be pushed to ISO12,800 and 25,600. And has a much higher resolution screen than the D5000. (But that's not essential <grin>).

    But then, it depends on what you plan to do with the camera. If you don't ever plan to go past ISO3200, the Nikon D80 would be a good camera too!
     
  5. cbrown222

    cbrown222 TPF Noob!

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    The D80 would be the best choice out of them just because of the internal focus motor. It's a pretty big hassle not having one. From experience, the nicer screen and extra few megapixels of the D90 compared to the D80 make a pretty big difference. Not a huge difference, but enough to notice. Out of those options, I would o with the D80
     
  6. tacticdesigns

    tacticdesigns TPF Noob!

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    I just noticed that you asked this question.

    This may be personal preference, but my preference is the dedicated autofocus light on the Nikon body.

    For quick snaps in the dark, I personally find it works faster than the flash pulse method. (This is based on comparing it to my Pentax K100d and when I used my buddies Canon XT, XTi, XSi.)

    I'm able to get lots of snaps of our gang's kids on Canada Day at 11pm at night, in the dark, outside, swinging sparklers around. (I've been experimenting with an external flash off camera held by hand to pretend its the light from the sparklers. Pretty easy to get with the dedicated autofocus light.)

    The other thing I like about it is that it separates the autofocus assist from the flash unit. So I can quickly decide I don't want to use flash in low-light for composition purposes (so don't pop-up the flash) and still get the aid of using the dedicated autofocus assist light.

    [I know. I know. You can set it on the menu to disable the flash from contributing to the shot. But that takes time. And I know, you can put an external flash on the camera to get the IR focus assist light on the external flash to help the camera focus. But when goofing around or on vacation, I don't want a big flash unit to lug around. And I know . . . faster lenses will help the camera autofocus better. But if you don't have fast glass, then its going to be harder for your camera to focus in low light.]
     
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  7. cgipson1

    cgipson1 TPF Noob!

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    I second the D5100, D80 or D90 suggestions.... :)
     
  8. ecphoto

    ecphoto TPF Noob!

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    Is the d3100 better than the d5000?
     
  9. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    I would go for the D5000, out of that list.
     
  10. jriepe

    jriepe TPF Noob!

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    The one thing I like about the D80 and D90 as opposed to most, if not all, the bodies that do not have internal focusing motors is that the internal flash can be used in commander mode to trigger off camera speedlights. Is this important? For some maybe no. For me I find it invaluable for macro. On the other bodies you can get around this by purchasing an SU800 or a speedlight that is capable of triggering other speedlights but now you're talking extra expense. For macro I use two SB600's on a macro flash bracket and the internal flash of either one of my D80's or D7000 does trigger these flashes. My D80's take great pictures but if I were starting out and in the market for a used or refurbished camera I believe I would try to swing the D90. The D90 is better at higher ISO's than the D80 plus has video if that's important. Manual focusing only for video though.

    Jerry
     
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  11. tacticdesigns

    tacticdesigns TPF Noob!

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    Good point!

    Less costly way to get into off-camera flash!
     
  12. SCraig

    SCraig Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    No. Other way around. The 5000 is better than the 3100.
     

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